The Importance of Learning with Like-minded Peers through Flexible Grouping in Inclusive Educational Settings

By Tracy Riley.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 23, 2016 $US5.00

Inclusive education provides a continuum of support, matched to the continuum of special needs, and acknowledges the community’s responsibility for ensuring that students feel valued and that barriers to being present, to participating, and to achieving are removed. The New Zealand Curriculum inclusion statement recognises the need for learners’ identities, abilities, and talents to be affirmed and their learning differences addressed. Interviews with four gifted students, their parents, and teachers sought to understand like-mindedness and its relevance to their learning in inclusive education settings. The participants’ perspectives support the important connections between how and what one thinks in relation to their peers, particularly in contexts for learning. The students in this study each had many different opportunities to connect and re-connect with different like-minded peers in different settings and for different motivations. For these gifted students, their like-minded peers remained within and crossed over age boundaries, with factors of similar abilities, qualities, and interests transecting the relationships. The students in this study expressed a preference for learning independently, in one-on-one pairings, or in small groups of like-minded peers. Flexible grouping of gifted and talented students, by abilities, qualities, and interests, provides opportunities to meet and learn alongside like-minded peers.

Keywords: Inclusive Education, Grouping, Peers, Belonging, Gifted, Like-minds

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.33-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 23, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 412.997KB)).

Dr. Tracy Riley

Associate Professor, Institute of Education, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand